The healthcare program Tricare at the United States Department of Defense Military Health System falsely told more than 600,000 people they had been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to the Daily Wire. Turns out they had never been tested.
The email, apparently sent in error, read: "As a survivor of COVID-19, it’s safe to donate whole blood or blood plasma, and your donation could help other COVID-19 patients," the email stated. "Your plasma likely has antibodies (or proteins) present that might help fight the coronavirus infection. Currently, there is no cure for COVID-19. However, there is information that suggests plasma from COVID-19 survivors, like you, might help some patients recover more quickly from COVID-19."
One beneficiary took to Facebook to see if anyone else had received the strange email, saying: "Just wondering [if] anybody [got] an email from Tricare saying since you are a COVID survivor, please donate your plasma.?? I have NOT been tested ... Just remember all those people inputting data are human and make mistakes."
Human Military "issued a call to blood donors located near military installations that are collecting plasma from recovered coronavirus patients, also known as convalescent plasma, as a potential treatment for the illness," but it apparently went to every "beneficiary located near a collection point," according to a report from Military.com.
Human issued a formal apology just hours after, saying that "in an attempt to educate beneficiaries who live close to convalescent plasma donation centers about collection opportunities, you received an email incorrectly suggesting you were a COVID-19 survivor." The company added that "you have not been identified as a COVID-19 survivor and we apologize for the error and any confusion it may have caused," according to the report.
The report noted that the corporate communications lead, Marvin Hill, admitted to the error, writing that "as a part of an effort to educate military beneficiaries about convalescent plasma donation opportunities, Humana was asked to assist our partner, the Defense Health Agency."
"Language used in email messages to approximately 600k beneficiaries gave the impression that we were attempting to reach only people who had tested positive for COVID-19. We quickly followed the initial email with a clear and accurate second message acknowledging this. We apologize."
The Daily Wire reported that other healthcare organizations have been epicenters of confusion, writing that "Nashville man Brock Ballou said he received at least three calls from the state regarding his apparent symptoms after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. Mr. Ballou said he was never tested, however."